Ever since December 2018 when the Islanders won the rights to develop land at Belmont Park and also from the day of the groundbreaking in September of 2019, Islanders fans have not been able to contain their excitement about UBS Arena, the team’s future home that is scheduled to open next fall for the start of the 2021-22 National Hockey League season. For the Islanders and their fans, securing a state-of-the-art new home to replace Nassau Coliseum has certainly been a long and winding road.
And despite the fact that we’re still going through the coronavirus pandemic, Islanders fans are very close to helping the franchise reach a major milestone when it comes to ticket sales at UBS Arena. In the very near future, possibly within the next two weeks, the entire upper bowl at UBS Arena will be sold out for New York Islanders hockey.
“The response has just been tremendous,” said Michael Cosentino, the Islanders’ Senior Vice President of Sales, Service and Business Intelligence. “To feel the love for the team and the excitement around opening UBS Arena and to see that response in the time of a pandemic is just spectacular.”
When season ticket sales began, the price points for tickets in the upper bowl started at $30 but those are sold out. The remaining upper bowl tickets that are available are priced at $48 which is still a very affordable seat when you consider prices at other sports venues in the market as well as other buildings around the NHL. And when the upper bowl tickets do sell out, there are also going to be some attractive options in the lower bowl with seats starting at $75. A fan will actually be able to sit three rows away from the glass for $75, a real New York bargain!
“That’s a pretty unique value proposition that we’re very proud of,” said Cosentino.
When making plans for UBS Arena, Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky wanted to make sure that there would be a ticket price that would fit the budget of any fan. Ledecky went on a mission to meet as many season ticket members as possible to get their input and visited other arenas around the NHL to get a look at their designs and pricing structures.
And that has resulted in a demand for tickets that the the Islanders haven’t experienced in recent years both at Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center.
“To be at this place where we’re already nearly sold out of our upper bowl this early is pretty exciting,” said Cosentino.
As many Islanders fans continue to follow the progress of construction at UBS Arena on social media, the team is offering tours of the team’s future home to current season ticket members as well as fans who are interested in purchasing season tickets. Fans are so excited to get an in-person glimpse of how the arena is coming along that the tours are currently booked solid for the next two months. Each tour, which covers every level of UBS Arena, has a maximum capacity of eight to ten people in order to provide a safe experience with social distancing protocols.
When Islanders fans get the opportunity to check out UBS Arena, the reaction is kind of like the line from the legendary television show “Seinfeld”
It’s real and it’s spectacular!
“It’s like they’ve come home,” said Cosentino who has been on a number of the tours with Islanders fans. “Every time you just feel the excitement from people. There’s this sense of gratitude and just of hey we’ve got a home and this is a forever home. It’s not just going to be an arena. It’s going to be a very very special place and a very very special home for our fans.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Islanders are not currently able to welcome fans to home games for the team’s final season at Nassau Coliseum but hopefully things could change at some point to allow some fans into the building. But just like last season when the Islanders marched through the playoff bubble in Toronto and then on to Edmonton for the Eastern Conference Final, the organization has been able to keep the fans engaged with drive-thru events like the one they had a couple of weeks ago at UBS Arena where fans were able to pick up a car flag and rally towels.
The Islanders have also held some virtual town hall events featuring Malkin, Ledecky, President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, and alumni.
“That’s been a really quality way to connect with people and so those virtual town halls have been something that has been extremely popular as we’ve navigated the pandemic,” said Cosentino. “We’ve been looking at ways to do that and we’re really happy with the response we’re getting and we’re very thankful to have such great access from ownership, hockey operations and alumni.”
The excitement surrounding UBS Arena is literally through the recently completed roof and now fans can check out the arena construction progress from a webcam inside the building at www.ubsarena.com.
When you think about the Islanders’ arena saga through the years, the reality of them finally having a new home that they can call their own and was built for hockey has been quite emotional for the fan base. Whether it was the failed “Lighthouse” project that would have transformed the Nassau Coliseum into a modern arena, the referendum to build a new arena next to “The Barn” that was voted down, and then the Islanders’ subsequent move to Brooklyn, one had to wonder if the Islanders would ever be able to play in a new arena on Long Island.
Well, it’s happening and the fans have responded to the point where the upper bowl of UBS Arena at Belmont Park is very close to being completely sold out.
Come this fall, get ready to see this message on a regular basis on the video boards at UBS Arena…
“TONIGHT’S ATTENDANCE…17,113…THAT’S A SELLOUT”
Home. Sweet. Home. Permanently. Finally.